Eating for Health, Plant-based eating

Loving My Plants


I’ve been plant-based (attempt # ?) since Jan. 4, 2017.

Can you see the smile on my face?

I’m proud of myself because I’ve been trying, since Jan. 2010, to be fully plant-based.

I think this time, I’m more aware of the injustices happening to animals. I don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty.

Wish me well on my continued journey; and I wish you well on whatever journey you may be traveling.

Alison 🙂

Plant-Eating Challenge

Day 6 Plant Eating Challenge


I am three pounds down, since I began this plant eating challenge.

Today was successful! I took a day of rest from exercising in the am. I will be up tomorrow, before 6 a.m. to ensure I keep on track and continue with development of the habit of getting up early and working out.

I had my two smoothies, leftover stoup (soup/stew) for lunch, as well as some orzo pasta and broccoli (may have been oil in that).

I had a banana for a late afternoon snack; for dinner: two baked potatoes with horseradish and a bowl of cooked corn/green beans. Nothing fancy…just fuel for the body.

Not much to write today…I just want to keep my posts regular for accountability’s sake.

Plant-Eating Challenge, Risky Kitchen Recipes

Day 4 and 5 Plant-Eating Challenge


My daughter and I are both still on track with our Plant Eating Challenge, and we feel great.

I had my usual two smoothies, yesterday and today, and I worked out in the am both days. Pat on the back for me!

Lunch was the usual reheated homemade yumminess (stew, soup or stoup, or is stewp better?…a combo). I did have a little bit of pasta with tomato sauce-this is not the ideal food as it is processed, and not made from a whole grain. Also, there was probably oil and sugar in the sauce.

For dinner tonight I made two dishes. My meals are always…”how fast can I make this?” I am usually a wingin’ it kind of cook.

Dish #1: Chunky/Creamy Broccoli Soup

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Ingredients (measurements are not exact)

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets with some of the stem
  • 1.5 cups organic veggie broth
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup homemade rice milk
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Most recipes call for sauteeing this, and blah, blah blahing that…I’m too impatient. I just put all the ingredients into a pot and heat until the broccoli is cooked. Then, into the blender for a few spins. Back into the pot, to simmer while the flavours blend. Then I add 3 cooked potatoes; chop them up, skin and all. Add a bit of salt/pepper or some nutritional yeast, and voila! A hearty soup. This would work really well with cauliflower too…hmmm…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dish #2: Rice with Asian Mushroom Sauce

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Ingredients (measurements not exact)

  • Variety of mushrooms (about4- 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch blended in 3/4 cup water
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Instructions: Place 1 cup water into large sautee pan. Turn heat to high. Throw in the mushrooms for about 2 minutes, and then turn heat down to med-high. Let mushrooms cook for several minutes. Add sauces and spices. Add water/cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat, continuously for about 2 minues. Add green onions. Throw over a bowl of rice, or eat as a delicious soup on its own.

After dinner, I ejoyed a couple of glasses of red wine. Yum But, I wonder, how will this interfere with my energetic healthy feeling I have been living for the past few days?

Here are some things that are helping me succeed on this Plant Eating Challenge

1. After reading The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, I found the author’s videos on Youtube. Super inspiring. They help me to:

  • have less stress
  • procrastinate less
  • push myself to do more (5 more crunches, mark 3 more papers etc)
  • have more control of my thoughts

…all which result in me feeling better. This helps me to make better choices.

2. Getting up Early 

This can be a tough one, but here is what works for me. Last week, I decided I would get up before 6:30 a.m. each day. This week, I have been up before 6:00 a.m. each day. Now, I moved pretty quickly. Anyone could try this by changing more slowly. For example, if you get up at 7:00 a.m., and you really want to be getting up at 6:00, then start week 1 with a 6:50 a.m. time to rise. The next week, go to 6:40 a.m., and so on. It really works. Next thing you know, you have an extra hour, every day to work out, write, read, research, mediate, take time for you etc.

Hoping your journey is healthy.

Kids Health, Plant-Eating Challenge, Risky Kitchen Recipes

Day 2 Plant Eating Challenge


How did I do yesterday? Pretty darn good…except for the plain Ruffle chips (my fave!) with some Helluvadip (another fave). We were visiting someone, and I gave in.

I did have homemade sushi. I actually made sushi! I just gave it a whirl, and it was a big hit. I put the seaweed on my cutting board, and scooped brown rice on top, spreading it out. Then on one end, I put some cucumber strips with avocado strips and rolled it. No added sauces, or anything. It was easy…you just need to remember to moisten the last bit of seaweed, after it is almost rolled, so it will stick when completing the roll.

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Oh, and my daughter and I also made some snacks for her to take to school: date bars! We mixed 1 cup of soaked pitted, mashed dates with 1/2 cup of raw cashew pieces and 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds. We rolled half the mixture in balls and the other half, we experimented with bar sizes. The picture below shows less than we made because my daughter ate some of it…she couldn’t resist.

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Oh, I almost forgot, we also made kale chips! I only have a before picture. I put a whole bunch of kale, broken up in pieces and with the stems removed, into a big bowl. I put only one teaspoon of oil in my hands and then squeezed my hands around all the pieces of kale. Then, a little sprinkle of sea salt, and pop in the oven. I am still perfecting the time, but these were done at 400 degrees for 4 minutes, then flipped/tossed and put back in for another 4 minutes. I found a few a bit too dry, so next time I will try 4 min. and then 3 min.

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My daughter loves these!

 

Today? Was super awesome!

I started the day with a 20 min. run on the treadmill (I do HIIT: warm up for 2 min., then run super fast for 30 seconds and cool down in a jog for 90 seconds, then I repeat until I have only 2 minutes left, and then, cool down).

I had two green smoothies (swiss chard, spinach, arugula, bananas, frozen pineapple and water): one for breakfast and one for an afternoon snack.

My lunch was a homemade stew that I’ve been making a lot lately. It has water, organic veggie broth, carrots, celery, onion, potato, brown rice pasta and herbs/spices. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and I am in heaven!

For dinner, I had baked sweet potato fries, that were every so slightly sprayed with canola oil. I have to figure out a way to make these without oil. I guess I should just try a small sweet potato and see what happens.

To go with the sweet potato, I had a little mixture I wrapped up in half a swiss chard leaf (mashed chickpeas, mango, cilantro and sea salt).

My daughter was craving some ice cream, so we made the healthy vegan version in a blender: frozen bananas, frozen blueberries and a little bit of rice milk (homemade: 1 cup rice blended with 3 cups water, and then strained through a fine strainer, twice, or with cheesecloth). yum!

We forgot to take pictures…oh well.

After prepping food for the week (two stews, rice and sushi), I got on the treadmill again..only for 10 minutes, but it felt great!

Kids Health, Plant-Eating Challenge

Day 1 Plant Eating Challenge


This is it…I am making a public declaration that I want to eat a Whole Foods Plant-based (WFPB) Diet.

This is really scary because now I can’t try it, and then just give up. Instead of keeping it to myself, I am putting it out there!

And…my 13 year-old daughter is doing this with me!

Let’s be clear. I don’t mean “diet”…I mean lifestyle: a permanent change in how I eat.

I have attempted this many times. I usually go through phases of doing really well, and then I get off track and find myself eating cheese (a true love of mine).

My goals:

  1. Write on my blog about my experience at least once a week, preferably more.
  2. Be consistent: stick to it.
  3. Go one week at a time
  4. Continue until at least the middle of December, before the holidays.
  5. Continue further, so I can turn 50 in 2015, and feel terrific!

What will I Eat?

1. Whole Foods (the WF in WFPB)

Foods that are not processed, especially if they are highly processed. Even things like veggie burgers are out. Have you ever looked at the endless list of ingredients in these things? Yuck!

I will process my own foods with a tool like my Blentec high-speed blender. I will eat salt, spices/herbs, as well as the odd condiment that is not filled with sugar or fat, such as:

  • Horseradish
  • Mustard
  • Frank’s hot sauce

Occasionally, I will use a low-sodium soya sauce or a low sodium vegetable broth.

2. Plants (the PB in WFPB)

  • Vegetables, including greens
  • Fruit
  • Starch: potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash
  • Grains: whole grains like rice and quinoa
  • Legumes: peas, chickpeas, black beans, lentils etc.
  • Nuts/Seeds: only small amounts (they are high in fat, of which excess in the body is harmful, even if they are good fats)

Ok, so I will eat whole foods, that are plant-based.

3. Off-limit Foods

    Oil: it is a fractured food, not existing in nature and is highly processed. Now, I will occasionally use oil in a very small amount if I feel I have no other options. For example, I do not how to make kale chips without a little oil.

    Coffee: I actually gave up coffee in February of this year, so that is not an issue. I weaned myself off over about a week’s time. No headaches!

    Sugar: this is out too. What a dangerous culprit. This won’t be too difficult, because if you look at my food list above, none of them have added sugar, only natural sugars already found in the food. Sugar is mainly found in processed food, so if I stick to whole foods, this one shouldn’t be troublesome.

4. Alcohol: Ok, this is a tough one…I really enjoy a nice glass of red wine, or two. I haven’t fully decided where I am at with this one. I will continue to drink wine, but I will likely put an effort toward noticing how much or how often I have it. It is still a sugar.

 

Eating for Health, Mental Strength

Break the Food Addiction


I feel great!

Starting at the beginning of this month, I decided to refocus my efforts toward eating the way I really want to eat: whole foods that are plant-based that are also raw and low in fat.

I was very successful to start, and then enjoyed a weekend away and indulged. But here is the thing. I was super irritable for the 2-3 days that followed. I was low in energy and honestly, almost felt a bit depressed.

I am a big fan of The Biggest Loser and watched a recent episode. It gave me the kickstart to get out of that funk. The next day, I got back on track.

For the last seven days, I have stuck to my commitment 100%. For the last seven days, I have used my treadmill once or twice in a day.

How I feel:

Wow! Energized. Pumped to run on the treadmill as soon as I get home-I even look forward to it. My whole body feels lighter and I feel happier.

Why the success? Here is my theory.

With all the junk in food (mainly fat, sugar and salt), we truly get addicted to the food consumed in everyday society. We crave it. No wonder it is so difficult to stop eating it.

So, I realize that when I go on a food “bender”, I still want that food when I’m done, when I decide it’s time to get back on track! But I can’t do it because it is very difficult. I want more chips and more cheese! I don’t want to eat it, so I struggle mentally and feel stressed out!

Not worth it!

Even though I feel great, and at day seven of continuously eating beautiful plants that are raw…at some point soon, I’ll be faced with a food I have loved always: chips…or…cheese.

 chips              cheese2

What will I do? The saying, “A moment on the lips…a liftime on the hips.” is starting to sink in.

If I eat those things, I’ll have seconds or minutes of pleasure through my taste buds, but then, what will follow is not appealing at all! Sluggish feeling, being irritable etc. I will feel like crap.

Although there are people out there who eat the way I am eating, and have done so for years, it is difficult for me, at this early stage, to see me eating this way for years and years without breaking down in some social situation and eating crap.

Why is it so hard for me to picture myself eating well for many years? Because I have not been successful, long-term, EVER before!

I feel like I am beating the food addiction that has trapped so many of us in a terrible diet cycle. My commitment feels more solid now, since I understand that I can’t look at weekends as “cheese time” if I want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, long term.

I think I’m getting closer to the true me that I want to be. Yippee!

yippee2

Cartoon design by Ché from indieberries.com

Eating for Health

What to Bring to a Barbeque?


What do you do for a barbecue if you don’t eat meat?

You can bring your own veggie burgers; either the ones you buy, or your homemade version. I haven’t found any in the store that don’t have cheese or a pretty big list of ingredients that don’t belong in my body, so far. I also haven’t taken the time to explore different recipes, as I know it’ll be a bit time-consuming to do so. If you’re comfortable being you and not worrying about what others think of your food choices, then try this.

Last weekend, at a bbq dinner with family, I brought my own lovely veggie dish. It was pretty simple and pretty quick:

1. I mixed some veggies in a bowl (broccoli, mushrooms) with some soy sauce and sesame seeds, a bit of sesame oil, lime juice along with some herbs/spices; I used garlic, ginger and ground black pepper.

2. I threw it all in a Ziploc bag, sealed it up and packed it in a cooler with my cans of club soda that I planned to drink.

3. At the bbq, I poured my dish into a baking pan and set it on the top, rear part of the barbeque, while the rest of the party cooked their pickerel in the front area. It doesn’t take too long to cook because I like my veggies al dente. This way, I’m getting more nutrients per bite than I would eating overcooked mushy veggies.

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Now, in all honesty, fresh pickerel is delicious, and I did have a piece of it.

I hadn’t planned on it, but I decided two weeks ago that while I’m on this journey, I’m not going to pressure myself about being perfect. I allow what I would call an “indulgence” now and again. I also happened to know the person who caught the fish and the lake from which it came. So, I know the fish wasn’t farmed. Do I know what kind of pollution/toxins etc. might be in the fish? No. But for a once-in-a-while treat, I can live with my choice.